Overcoming the Big BUT
God’s people have a long history of following God – in part. They fear God BUT they also follow the surrounding culture. Overcoming the big but in our lives will take commitment and reliance on God.
Bible Reading of the Day: 2 Kings 16-20
King Ahaz was king over Israel in Samaria, and he did evil in the eyes of the LORD. Sacrificed his son in the fire. King after king would obey God in part, but they would compromise.
Reading from 2 Kings 17:6-17 to get the complete picture and understand why Israel fell, which also includes the Scripture of the day:
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, along the Habor (Gozan’s river), and in the cities of the Medes.
Why Israel Fell
7 This disaster happened because the people of Israel sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they worshiped[b] other gods. 8 They lived according to the customs of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites and according to what the kings of Israel did. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. They built high places in all their towns from watchtower to fortified city.
10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 And they burned incense there on all the high places just like the nations that the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did evil things, angering the Lord. 12 Then they served idols, although the Lord had told them, “You must not do this.” 13 Still, the Lord warned Israel and Judah through every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commands and statutes according to the whole law I commanded your ancestors and sent to you through my servants the prophets.”
Overcoming the Big But Happens when we Listen to God
14 But they would not listen. Instead they became obstinate like their ancestors who did not believe the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his statutes and his covenant he had made with their ancestors and the warnings he had given them. And they followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves, following the surrounding nations the Lord had commanded them not to imitate.
16 Then they abandoned all the commands of the Lord their God. They made cast images for themselves, two calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed in worship to all the stars in the sky and served Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire and practiced divination and interpreted omens. They devoted themselves to do what was evil in the Lord’s sight and angered him.”
Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 17:14-15
14 But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord’s command not to imitate them.”
Don’t follow the culture. Follow Jesus. Don’t let a big BUT get in the way.
32 They feared the Lord, BUT they also made from their ranks priests for the high places, who were working for them at the shrines of the high places.”
33 “They feared the Lord, BUT they also worshiped their own gods according to the practice of the nations from which they had been deported.”
Overcoming the Big But Requires Obedience
35 The Lord made a covenant with Jacob’s descendants and commanded them, “Do not fear other gods; do not bow in worship to them; do not serve them; do not sacrifice to them. 36 Instead fear the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to him, and you are to sacrifice to him. 37 You are to be careful always to observe the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandments he wrote for you; do not fear other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant that I have made with you. Do not fear other gods, 39 but fear the Lord your God, and he will rescue you from all your enemies.”
40 However, these nations would not listen but continued observing their former practices. 41 They feared the Lord but also served their idols. Still today, their children and grandchildren continue doing as their ancestors did.”
Overcoming the Big But By Relying on God
There is another BUT that is good to have. Hezekiah modeled this for us. He chose to say, “but God”. He relied on God wholeheartedly.
2 Kings 18:3-6
3 “He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for until then the Israelites were burning incense to it. It was called Nehushtan.
5 Hezekiah relied on the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. 6 He remained faithful to the Lord and did not turn from following him but kept the commands the Lord had commanded Moses.”
When Hezekiah was threatened by King Sennacherib of Assyria, He relied on God. Even when he was taunted and threatened. He chose “But God” as his mantra.
Even on his death bed, King Hezekiah relied on God and God gave him 15 more years of life. King Hezekiah was told to get his house in order in preparation for his death. Oh how we need to have our house in order every day, right?
- Our world is crazy right now. Our culture is deceived. We need to rely on God and His word right now.
- Rather than being culture followers we can be culture changers.
- Don’t let a big “but” get in your way.
- Don’t walk the fence by following God in part “but” following the culture, too.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #205: 2 Kings 16-20
Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 17:14-15
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